Wednesday 20th November - Shawn Klimek
Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors
Contributor spotlight : Shawn Klimek, author of “Genuine Troll-Leather Luggage”
Today, the interviewer's spotlight swings around to focus on Shawn Klimek. Shawn is the author of the short story “Genuine Troll-Leather Luggage” which appears in the “Dragon Bone Soup” anthology (published in December 2019). Shawn has written many humorous stories and his hilarious tale (of only 2,900 words) is a salesman's pitch to get you to buy the aforementioned luggage. If you like the classic Dying Earth series by Jack Vance, then you will definitely love this. By the way, in a special deal, the luggage comes free with the anthology.
What is your real name and what name do you write under (if they are different)?
Real name: Shawn M. Klimek
Where do you hail from?
I live in Illinois with my wife and a Maltese (a breed of dog).
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
My wife is in the U.S. Air Force, so we move frequently. She’s both my home and the greatest thing about it, wherever we are.
When and why did you start writing?
I began in Elementary school, imitating Dr. Seuss. During high school, I expanded to include non-rhyming short stories. I was a journalist in the U.S. Army when I wrote my first one-act play and collaborated with a fellow soldier on my first science-fiction humor novella. Although I never stopped writing, it was only two years ago, during a work hiatus while stationed in Japan, that I began aggressively writing and submitting.
Who are a few of your favourite authors (books and/or poetry)?
I admire Frank Herbert’s Dune and J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR for world building and plot. Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse for laugh-out-loud wit. Patrick O’Brian for brilliantly drawn, nuanced characters and dialogue. This is a bottomless treasure chest, like the one in my story.
What genre(s) do you write in? What genre(s) do you find challenging?
I feel most at home writing speculative fiction :- science fiction, fantasy and occasionally horror, in that order. Humor is my strongest suit, and figures in half of my works. Although I have not attempted every genre, the learning curve seems steepest for murder mysteries.
How did you come up with the premise for your story?
It began with a writing challenge to complete a story using only ten sentences. As a joke, I undertook to write ten, preposterously long sentences. When I decided to convert the piece into a proper short story, I kept some of the long-winded phrasing for humorous effect.
Which character was your favourite to write?
Between the two primary wizard characters, Azu-Azim, “The Hermit Wizard of Riddle Creek”, is the more sympathetic, but Rojo “the Fox” is an entertaining rascal. Their interplay is more interesting than either of them separately.
Where do your ideas come from?
Countless, random story ideas come to me while reading, and I try to jot them down. A fraction of these were eventually developed to completion. But most ideas blossom during the process of writing, itself. Since the heart of every story is tension, I begin by mediating on that feeling while brainstorming situations and characters, auditioning ideas until inspiration strikes.
Do you ever experience Writer’s Block? How do you handle it?
Sometimes. Usually, this is a clue that I’m behind on my sleep.
Is there a theme or inspiration to your writing?
Once I had accumulated enough stories to establish a loose pattern, I recognized that a recurring theme was hope in the face of hopelessness. In my comedies, this often takes the form of outrageous optimism or relentless disappointment. In “Genuine Troll-Leather Luggage”, the wizard “Azu-Azim” suffers slightly more failures than successes but is such a resilient character that his disappointments are never tragic.
What has been your proudest moment as a writer?
I was thrilled when my humor story, “Pregenesis” was voted the favorite story in “Carrier Wave: The Inner Circle Writers Groups’ Humor Anthology, 2018” by Clarendon House Publishing. Since then, three of my stories have since been selected for “best of” collections.
Do you belong to a writing group or community? How did you find them, and how do they help?
While we were stationed in Ohio, back in 2013, I joined a writer’s group I found advertised on the bulletin board at a local library. I still very much belong to that group, although we only correspond via Facebook. In fact, it was they who gave me the writing prompt which ultimately resulted in “Genuine Troll Leather Luggage” (as well as others, including “Get Off My Lawn”, recently published in “Tall Tales - Short Stories: A Flash Fiction Anthology”, by Escaped Ink Fiction). I have since become an active member of several writing groups on Facebook, many of which have largely redundant memberships. My favorite is probably “Inner Circle Writers Group”.
What are you working on right now?
I’m formatting my first self-published book: a fantasy story told in five poems: “Hungry Thing”, illustrated by the talented Romanian surrealist, Norbert Somosi (@NosoArtist).
What are your plans for the future?
After I have written a few more, I would like to publish a collection of short stories.
How can readers find you online and on social media?
These are listed in Sixteen Questions for Sixteen Authors.
About “Dragon Bone Soup”
“Dragon Bone Soup” is an anthology of Fantasy and light Science Fiction short stories, showcasing the very best in Indie writing talent from across the world. Published in December 2019, it is edited by P.C. Darkcliff and DW Brownlaw.
About the editors
For more information about the editorial team, click on the following links...